5 July 2007

Glasgow: What's To Love?

"Glasgow: a place where some are born great; where some become great by living here; and where some still chuck spears at buses." - Anonymous

Inspired by an online blog-chat, I thought I'd take a few moments to share with you what I love about the place we've called home for the past four years.

1. First and foremost, I love the people. Glaswegians, as they're called, are renowned for their hospitality and friendliness. They tend to be very approachable, and are just as eager to give you directions as they are to walk you to your destination themselves. They love to laugh and possess a sharp wit. There is definitely a sense of social justice amongst the people, as could be seen when the tsunami decimated the Indonesian islands, and with the mass involvement and awareness surrounding ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History.

2. Glasgow has some great museums - the best of which is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. There's also the Museum of Transport, and the People's Palace and Winter Gardens. All of which contain hours of intrigue and entertainment! And the best part - they're FREE!

3. Glasgow is not known as the "dear green place" for nothing. It has more gardens/parks per square foot than any other city in Britain. A huge part of the west end is taken up by the Botanic Gardens, a favorite place for our family to go on a nice day.

4. I love that Glasgow is so centrally located. Get on the train in any direction and before long you'll find yourself at the ocean, Hadrian's Wall, Stirling Castle or in the Highlands. We're a mere hour's flight from London, and 45 minutes from Edinburgh by rail.

5. I love the feel of the city. Glasgow is Britain's third most populated city, but I've come to describe it as having a "village feel" to it. I don't know of any other city where you can stroll around the city centre (downtown) area and regularly run into people you know. This aspect creates an intimate sense of community among the inhabitants.

6. At first glance you wouldn't think that the urban context would be all that child-friendly, which makes this another reason why I love Glasgow - particularly the west end. In order to create a place where families can flourish in urban-life, people have to go to greater lengths than they do in suburban contexts. We've found Glasgow to be very accommodating to young families... or more specifically, families with young children. Other than ample opportunities to plug into mum's groups, toddler groups, and children's music classes (all of which we have greatly benefited from), there are also places like The Loft and The Grosvenor that cater to families with young children. On the surface, The Loft is just another hip restaurant/bar for the upwardly mobile elite. Converted from the west end's old theater house, The Loft is now a thriving hot-spot on evenings and weekends, but during the day, The Loft creates a great environment for parents to bring their kids... going so far as to provide Fisher-Price cars for the kids to tear around the giant wooden floor on. The Grosvenor, a theater sharing the same building, offers a "watch with baby" feature every Thursday for the first showing of the day. This provides an opportunity for parents to see movies too (provided their infant is 12-months or younger).

7. When praising Glasgow, you can't avoid highlighting its music scene. From 80s rock-legends David Byrne and Simple Minds, to contemporary alt-rockers Teenage Fanclub and Snow Patrol, to indie pop bands Belle and Sebastian and The Fratellis, to post-punk quartet Franz Ferdinand, and post-rock instrumentalists Mogwai, Glasgow has been producing a vast array of musicians and bands that have left their mark on today's music scene.

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Mike & Susanne said...
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